How we found the perfect song for a music video concept, a year after I wrote the pitch.
"Surrounded" by Adem is the story of a suicidal man who is pulled from the brink by a random act of kindness.
Commissioned Via Radar Music Videos.
I had the idea for this music video about a year ago whilst working on another project. I could see it in my head. I knew it would work, but I didn't have a track. It was shortlisted in one form or another a handful of times but ultimately ended up gathering digital dust in the corner of my desktop. I say this because it's too easy to get disheartened and loose faith in your own work - but just because it doesn't work for one person, doesn't mean it wont work for another.
As soon as I heard Adem's track on Radar, I realised I had found a track that not only worked for the video, but enhanced it. I pitched the same day the brief went up, which is something I never do, but suddenly there was an energy in the idea again, a new angle to a concept I thought I already had down.
The piece was originally inspired by the classic video for "Just" by Radiohead and the famous image of the Burmese Monk from RATM debut album. I remember seeing that picture for the first time - the state of mind you would have to reach in order to do that to yourself - it's mind-boggling - I literally couldn't imagine a worse way to go - which I guess is the point.
People go about their everyday lives in a bubble - we are always moving from one thing to the next. Whether that person next to you is having the worst day of their life or not never really factors in - but sometimes it does - sometimes the bubble pops and you are confronted with a diversion from the norm. When the businessman pours petrol all over himself for the first time, he is bursting that bubble - and not just his own.
There's a rule about having things happen in threes that I attribute to Robert Rodriguez - in which you show the same action three times, but each time you see it, there is a progression. The first time the petrol pours it's an act of destruction, but the second time, it's an act of salvation - by the third - it's already a parody of itself. I think I was weary of it being too melodramatic so I was keen to add in surreal beats of humour here and there.
About two years ago, Karl and I shot a music video for Kilter feat. Youth - which was basically two people kissing in slow motion at sunset. That was our first music video together, and for all it's faults, is still one of our favourites. From a cinematic perspective, we loved the idea of really amplifying a small moment into something more dramatic. This video felt like pushing that idea to the next level - adding layers and more moving parts - building on the foundations of what we've done before.